"Individually Vinnie Paz and Ill Bill are two of underground rap's most acclaimed emcees. Paz is known for a guttural flow laced with mercilessly murderous thoughts, and has been the frontman of Jedi Mind Tricks since he was known as Ikon the Verbal Hologram. Bill is known for channeling a slew of conspiracy theories about the illuminati and "black helicopters" into hip-hop, first through his Non Phixion comrades, then as a solo artist. Collectively the two are known as the Heavy Metal Kings, a reference that describes both their musical attitude and their penchant for rapping about firearms. They first collaborated as a duo on "Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell" back in 2006, which sewed the seeds for an eventual full LP. Five years later in 2011 that tree bloomed with fruit, although the unprepared who take a bite may find the taste especially sour and acrid - possibly even poisonous. If Vin Rock, Treach and Kay Gee are Naughty By Nature then it's fair to say Vin Paz, Ill Bill and their producers of choice are Malevolent By Nature. There's almost nothing in the world that would make this duo happy, except perhaps the total collapse of Western society and/or an unlimited supply of ammunition to shoot in the air. Around every corner of their lyrics is a FBI agent waiting to incarcerate them, a CIA operative seeking to overthrow a third world government, and a martyr to the precepts of Malachi Z. York. "
"Fresh off collaborations with Super Chron Flight Brothers and N.A.S.A., 24-year-old Utica, N.Y. producer A.M. Breakups' solo debut comes in the form of "The Cant Resurrection," a mostly-instrumental LP steeped in a dark, industrial sound. A.M. Breakups sports a heavily mechanical sound with many unorthodox audio elements and unusual loops and rhythms for an abstract style that often belies musical convention. Early tracks such as the short "Reference; Utica, NY 1951" build layers of keyboards, guitars, and complex percussion arrangements for an eerie and unsettling effect. Some tracks, such as "Dreams" with V8 and Eleven, are too cluttered sonically, with a myriad of distinct elements failing to blend together with the rigid drums and nonsense-spewing rappers. The "glitch-hop" approach proves most effective on the more musical and less frenetic tracks. "Forms" has an appealing melody achieved through the interplay of a sunny piano and otherworldly-sounding synthesizer, and Super Chron Flight Brother Billy Woods contributes to the distant vibe with a trademark smoked-out performance. "
"Respect for the culture, check. Dues paid, check. Essential credentials to make his solo project worth checking out - checkmate. Despite this there's cause to pause, as Alex Sheremet was openly critical of a previous Dragon Fli release, accusing them of never getting beyond "pleasant listen" status and creating truly innovative hip-hop. With that in mind I'm looking for what DJ Cosm can achieve outside the constraints of the group dynamic. With an ambitious and Whovian title like "Time and Space," he's almost promising that he can pluck talent from anywhere/anywhen in hip-hop and do something intriguing with them musically. It's time to throw open those blue police doors and find out whether what he's got in store is brilliant, terrifying, or both. "Hi" featuring Rasul Syed (a/k/a Mangolassi) certainly starts things out on a promising note. There's a laid back feel to this song that's more Cali than Calgary, a breezy hit of R&B plus jazz that allows Rasul to flow like water over the beats. His tongue seems to always be on the virtue of going numb from being too relaxed, but the diction stays clear and in tact throughout."
"Over the past few weeks, we've been bombarded with headlines that almost certainly had 2012 doomsday theorists ducking for cover: untold political unrest throughout the Middle East and Africa, a horrific earthquake and nuclear scare in Japan, and right here in the good old U.S. of A we narrowly avoided a potentially catastrophic government shutdown. Yet somehow when the weather starts getting warm and DJ Quik has a new album on shelves all seems right with the world, and so we find ourselves with his eighth solo LP "The Book of David." 2011 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Compton legend's ground-shaking debut, and in the two ensuing decades David Blake made his name as arguably the best producer to call the West Coast home. "The Book of David" won't be changing anybody's mind, as it's seventy minutes of delectable audio treats. Quik brilliantly walks a fine line throughout "The Book of David" by bringing back his familiar soul and funk-rooted sound, yet as always making the subtle adjustments that have kept his music fresh and exciting since '91. The bright keyboard synths, sunny high hats, and judicious use of strings and horns are his trademarks, recalling his classics that proved soundtracks of summers past, and the warm-weather vibes are inescapable on his latest as well. "
"A long time ago in a Dirty Laboratory far far away, Extra Kool and Satyre used to be Optik Fusion Embrace. No more. Whatever this crew is now, they're not what they used to be, and they want that point to be perfectly clear. To that end they went to the extraordinary length of making their artist name and album title read side by side as though it were one complete sentence - that is unless backwards reading like Yoda you are. That apparently wasn't enough though - they had to up the ante and go De La Soul on us with the lead track off their new album entitled "Optik Fusion Is Dead." The artwork for The Artists Formerly Known as Optik is like a surreal Salvador Dali painting colliding with Willy Wonka's candy factory. If one were to take the peppermint candy canes as a metaphor for something that's "extra cool" to the tastebuds, it seems perfectly clear that the rapper believes whatever he was has melted away even in the cold Denver air. What of his partner Satyre though? Where does he fit into the picture? That's not clear on the cover though it's much clearer on the flipside: "all beats by A. Gardiner - for beats e-mail satyratm at yahoo dot com." "
JNatural :: Love Is On Hiatus :: Project Blowed as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Janelle Corpuz is the female rap artist who never expected to have a music career, then wound up getting a major endorsement from a legend of the game once she arrived. Although she was interested in slam poetry dating back to high school, the lure of higher education was strong and the desire to own her own business even stronger, leading inexorably to Halseyan International LLC. The love of the art and culture stayed strong though, as indicated in her JNatural bio: "(In) college JNatural and her friends were staying up late at night dissecting the lyrics of Freestyle Fellowship, Living Legends and Hiero." Perhaps it was inevitable then that she'd form her own hip-hop band and jam with members of California's Project Blowed fam. Aceyalone saw in her something that music was missing and christened her "the new face of hip-hop [..] here to serve y'all." He's had a guiding hand in her career ever since. JNatural's "Love Is On Hiatus" could by title alone be seen as a potshot at earlier points in her career, as she at one point released a "Sex Lies and Sextape" mixtape to get a little more mainstream recognition. The cover of her latest album is almost anti-sexual to boot as all the feminine curves are well hidden, leaving only her haircut and a little makeup to save her from androgyny. "
"J Rocc has been DJing hip-hop since before a lot of rappers were even born. He started in the mid-80s, founded the Beat Junkies in the early 90s, and has been producing and DJing for Madlib for the past decade. I've seen him live a few times, and he always manages to mix old-school boom bap with more contemporary sounds. He comes off like a pro, not a dinosaur, keeping the spirit of turntabilism alive while incorporating new elements. So it's not a surprise that his first solo album for Stones Throw incorporates classic beats with more avant-garde and abstract ideas. The album starts off with a reworking of De La Soul's "Cool Breeze On the Rocks," indicating J Rocc's appreciation for and relationship with hip-hop's past. It immediately goes into the mellow, melancholy "Don't Sell Your Dream (Tonight)," which leans more towards 90s trip hop than 80s hip-hop. "Stay Fresh" offers a breakbeat that picks up the tempo while still recalling DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing..." "Stop Trying" layers electronica over a latin beat. "Party," my favorite song on the album, mixes Bollywood sample with late-70s BK funk, letting it cook for a solid six minutes. "Play This (Also)" mixes a hammering breakbeat over jazz and psychedelic samples. "
"I'm not a huge fan of mixtapes. I don't like the crappy sound quality, I don't like the annoying DJ drops, and I don't like the lack of quality control. The average mixtape is 74 minutes of music that sounds like it took 90 minutes to record and produce, and could have been distilled down to three or four decent songs. Even celebrated mixtapes like Big K.R.I.T.'s "Return of 4Eva" contain too much filler for me to want to spend a lot of time with them.I have limited time to listen to music, and there are way too many legitimate releases to listen to for me to spend much time on mixtapes. However, they exist for a reason, namely to help a rapper get heard and keep their name out there. The strategy worked better ten years ago when hundreds of rappers were dropping mixtapes. Nowadays thousands of rappers are dropping mixtapes, and it's too much of a chore to weed out the few decent mixtapes from the mountains of mediocrity. I'm a music critic and even I don't have the desire to listen to the fifty mixtapes released every day to figure out which one might actually be worth the hard drive space. "
"Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are two of the most iconic figures of 20th century black America. Both dedicating their lives to a greater cause, each choosing a different path to reach his goals, but both meeting the same tragic fate. The lives they lived and the decicions they made reflect the range of human life. One followed in his father's footsteps and became a clergyman before discovering his mission as a civil rights activist, the other had to pay his debt to society behind bars in order to find his calling. One argued from the point of Christianity, the other chose a non-Christian faith to emmancipate himself and his people. One had an academic background, the other drew experience from the streets and prison. One marched his way into the mainstream, the other remained a political outcast. King and X have been present in rap music, even regularly being mentioned together in songs. The references are occasionally trivializing (Drake) or presumptuous (Benzino), but generally the two serve as examples of great leaders that are sorely missed. "
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. This episode our special guest is the one and only Chaz Kangas. We talk about growing up in the Twin Cities, the joys of a New York bagel, his latest album A Personal Reference, discuss how influential the late great Eyedea was in hip-hop, and much more! If you like the show or have some feedback follow me on Twitter @angrymarks. Artists please send your podsafe music and advertising requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check it out every Tuesday on RapReviews.com! Don't forget to get your free download of A Personal Reference on Bandcamp, follow @chazraps on Twitter, add him on Facebook and if you're in New York he'll be at Crash Mansion on May 24th!
Conjuring the power for the 90's kid, iLL-Literacy breaks out with "Gentleman's Kool-Aid," a music video that stretches DIY to the limits. Featuring a hand-made nightclub diorama, action figures from their parents' garages, and hallucinogenic red vines growing wild in the Grand Canyon, the video (shot mostly on a passe 8mm camcorder) is juxtaposed with reinterpreted 16-bit throwbacks that become increasingly psychedelic. The song, "Gentleman's Kool-Aid," questions the concept of manhood through conjured ego, adding another layer to the musicians' representation of their experience coming of age at the same time as the internet.
iLL-Literacy is a band that explores new concepts of music and performance by promoting imagination as a means to connect entertainment, education, and politics. Moonlighting between stages at SXSW in Austin, Cornell University in New York, and the New Organizing Institute in Washington DC, the band is dedicated to shedding light on the power of creative approaches to a crumbling music industry, a failing school system, and a cynical political climate.
"Gentleman's Kool-Aid" is filmed and directed by iLL-Literacy and Karen Lum (director of the Emmy Award winning short film "Slip of the Tongue") with special effects and editing by Mandel Lum of Shia Productions.
Video: Doom Man f/ Seyi Shay - "Celebrate Life Part II"
Hiphop sensation, Doom Man, is set to cause a stir again this summer. His last track Don't Talk To Me became a club hit, being played from 1Xtra to Choice FM in London and on many stations and clubs across the UK. The last 12 months have seen Doom support acts such as Omarion, Jagged Edge and previously De La Soul. His current track is a dancefloor hit in London's Leicester Square with Doom performing live sets over the last few weeks.
Celebrate Life Part II featuring Seyi Rock and produced by Yellow Man made its 1st air play on DJ Target 1xtra show as the Targo Embargo and will be available on iTunes on Monday 30th May 2011.
Video: The Freeze Tag (Bisco Smith & Cassettes Won't Listen) - "The Voices"
Diving deeper into their soon-to-be released five-song musical/art collaborative concept EP, Hamster KidThe Freeze Tag, the duo comprised of Los Angeles producer Cassettes Won't Listen and Brooklyn emcee Bisco Smith, is releasing the latest visual installment from the project. The video is the second of five videos from the EP - there will be one video for each track, in addition to three exclusive remixes - each working together to tell the story of Hamster Kid, an everyman's underdog who embarks on a quest in search for freedom from life's restrictions and limitations.
The music video for "The Voices," created, like all five videos from the EP, by world renowned street artist Bishop 203 and director Mike Vidoli, begins the story for viewers. While the EP's previous video, for "The Hustle," incorporated bits and pieces, both lyrically and visually, from each of the four tracks to follow, "The Voices" is the track that begins the story for listeners, and thus the video offers a striking visual accompaniment as Hamster Kid begins his journey. With Cassettes Won't Listen behind the boards, building tension and setting an eerie tone, the visuals depict Hamster Kid, trapped in an underground world and facing a host of ominous and threatening characters as Bisco's vocals echo in the background, as he raps, "I hear them talking, talking, but they ain't saying much." The Freeze Tag's Hamster Kid EP will be released May 3, 2011 on the duo's collective label, Daylight Curfew.
Here is the video for J*Midd's "Up Up and Away", Dwight Howard's official 2011 NBA playoffs theme song! The song was recently released by Kado Records, a label co-founded by California R&B veteran TQ.
"Up Up and Away" also features TQ, and was originally penned by J*Midd for Dwight Howard's Shooting Stars charity. When Howard heard the song, he asked to use it as a personal theme, which only made sense given the catchy lyrics.
Soon after, some insiders with the Orlando Magic took things to the next level by having the track authorized and officialized by the NBA for Howard's use in the 2011 playoff games!
In the official video, J*Midd and TQ interact with some classic Dwight Howard action footage. Enjoy!
Chances are if you have been listening to any Bay Area hip-hop in the last two decades, or so, then you've become familiar with countless DJ Touré beats. This now widely recognized producer got his start DJing with the Hieroglyphics Crew and since has fashioned signature beats with his production company, 101% Music, which has behind many of Cali's rising acts. Now in 2011, DJ Touré is gearing up for his own release, Touré's Theory, which will be released via Interdependent Media, later this year. As a teaser for the full-length, Toure is leaking this video and song, featuring the Oakland MC Emakulant, in what is likely to become one of the album's bonus tracks.
In case your curious as to what the title "Tarantula" might be in reference to, the video will do well to dispel any mystery; forget about Pineapple Express' legendary Cross-joint, the Tarantula is one of the most diabolical marijuana inventions ever created. Better yet the video and lyrics might as well be a hip-hop tutorial on how to create this beast, as Emakulant throws in just about every variation of cannabis while slapping on a fair warning, as he raps, "This is for the veterans, not for the amateurs/ And please use caution while smoking Tarantula's." To compliment the vocals, DJ Touré's production yields speaker-shaking bass, slapping snare, and synth-laden instrumentation with icy space-reverb overtop that. Combined with the Tarantula, they just might send you out into another dimension.